Is it better to cut fat and then build muscle or vice versa?
September 12, 2012 3:34 AM Subscribe
What should I concentrate on first, losing the fat or building muscle?
posted by tokaidanshi to health & fitness (17 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I'm about to start my last (finally) year of grad school, and I have two big goals I'd like to accomplish over the next nine months.
1. Not fail grad school.
2. Get in the best shape of my life by the time I graduate.
I'm almost 31 years old, 6 feet tall, weigh about 160 pounds and have a fairly slim build. The problem is, over the last couple of years, even though I'm by no means fat, I've put on a rather unsightly amount of baby fat around my belly. It's not something you can see when I have my shirt on but very easily noticeable when my shirt is off. I want to get rid of it. I plan on doing this through lots of cardio and a cleaner diet. I would also like to put on some muscle though, especially in my upper body. Ideally I'd like to put on about 10-15 pounds of muscle over the next 9 months.
Given that I'm going to have to eat a lot to build muscle over the next nine months, does it make sense to try and bulk up first and then burn off the belly fat later or would I be better off burning off the fat that I have now and then trying to build bulk on top of a leaner body? Is it possible to build muscle while staying reasonably lean, and if so, do you have any pro tips on how to do that?
Also, I'm doing all of this on a budget. If you could recommend cheap, healthy foods that would be a good addition to my diet as I try to do this that would be great.